Letters From Readers: May 2019

Engine Storage 101

As a longtime subscriber to Aviation Consumer, I usually find something real-world-valuable in every issue. Rarely do I read an article that is as divorced from reality as the long-term engine storage tips article in the April 2019 issue.

I would guess that I’m not the only reader who is not in the aviation business. My plane is an avocation, one that I love, but that often must take a back seat to work, family, travel and other commitments. Here in Southwest Florida, it often seems that great flying weather occurs on non-flying days, and days that I’ve scheduled to get up in the air have clouds and thunderstorms building by 10 a.m. The end result is that, while I try to fly at least weekly, there are multiple occasions each year where the aircraft sits idle for at least 30 days.

If I had the time to pull the plugs, oil the cylinders, change the oil and desiccant the exhaust, and then do it all again in reverse, don’t you think I’d be flying instead? Unless I know that I’m going to be gone for multiple months, there is no practical way I could follow your advice. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. For me the only real-world takeaway from this article is a healthy dosing of extra guilt.

Don Scattergood
Placida, Florida

While we realize that it simply isn’t always practical to follow the engine manufacturers’ service letters that detail the proper storage techniques for engines that slumber beyond 30 days, our hope was to save at least some owners some grief and money should they neglect an engine for longer periods of time. These are engines that sit for a longer duration than yours.

How much for a baron inspection?

I provided owner feedback for the Beech Baron 55 report in the March 2019 Aviation Consumer and stated that the annual inspection completed by Master Aviation in Connecticut was $47,000. That’s an accurate figure, but deserves further explanation because it was more than an annual inspection, and further detail might help potential Baron owners realize that the bar for a prepurchase inspection will likely be significantly different than for an in-service annual maintenance event.

In reality, we asked the shop for a mechanical restoration that would bring our 1978 Baron to its original operating condition. We fixed things that were otherwise passable, or deferrable, because we would be flying our families in this airplane. The props had about 200 hours since their last overhaul, but that had been 17 years prior. As it turned out that was a good suggestion as one of the hubs was no longer salvageable. That was $17,000 of the bill. Master subsequently removed and sent out one of the props for free the following year for wicking oil along a bristle that had somehow been under a seal. The defect list grew to a whopping 60 items, including all of the typical annual inspection items to address.

There was the overhaul of a slipping starter adapter, we addressed the aging engine mounts, replaced two cylinders, accomplished the wing spar AD, replaced the exhaust system for each engine, refurbished the prop electric de-icing system, replaced parts for and re-rigged the landing gear, repaired the original fuel quantity indicator system, plus a multitude of smaller defects which soon came to the surface and added to the invoice.

All of this work was coordinated and accomplished in an exceptional manner. We have gone back to Master Aviation for two additional annuals since and each time the cost was much lower and reduced from the prior year. We expect the annual to be in the $8000 to $10,000 range this year. The plane continues to fly defect free and my partner and I are happy campers.

Ross Detwiler
via email

Garmin and Your Privacvy

I read the Garmin D2 Delta PX wrist-based pulse oximeter article in the April 2019 issue and wonder if you can comment about a user’s medical data privacy as it relates to the data captured by the watch. Garmin’s Connect website implied that if the watch owner opted in to typical Garmin Connect features, information such as heartbeat, pulse ox and similar data may be submitted to Garmin where it is stored and presumably available for analytics within the company.

Jim Meade
via email

Garmin reiterated that the watch isn’t a medical device, and users can choose to upload the data, or not. It also said it processes aggregated user data for research and development purposes.